Source: (2006) Address for Belfast International Conference on Restorative Conferencing.

The New Zealand system of youth justice is unique in being the first and currently the only complete system of youth justice built around principles and practices consistent with a restorative justice philosophy. This paper describes briefly these key principles and practices. It then describes and reports on research that examines the extent to whether legislative goals of diversion, participation, empowerment, repair and reintegration have been met. It reports results that examine the question of the extent to which restorative practices are able to achieve desired outcomes. Finally it discusses the implications of the data for policy and practice and it suggests standards against which effective practice can be benchmarked and key elements of best practice. The results demonstrate that restorative principles, policies and practices have the potential to improve outcomes for children, young people and their families. But at the same time, the data suggests that simply introducing family group conferences is not enough to change youth justice outcomes. There are lessons in this for us all. (excerpt)

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